Direct Fresh, the Dhaka-based agri-tech startup that supplies fresh and safe agro products, has announced a new investment yesterday from a host of investment partners including RSA Capital, as a lead investor, Business Research International Corporation Inc. (BRIC), a global public and private equity investor and Razor Capital, a Bangladesh focused, recently launched private equity fund.
With the new investment, the company plans to double down in farming and distribution.
Launched about three years ago, Direct Fresh (DF) has grown significantly. The startup claims to have a loyal customer base of 20,000 households who rely on its safe and fresh products delivered to their doorsteps along with a growing list of institutional clients like Apollo Hospitals, The Westin, Radisson Hotel, a number of international schools, clubs, and restaurants.
There is a growing demand for fresh and pure foods in the market. Food adulteration problem has driven up the demand of organic and unadulterated foods. Excessive use of pesticides and chemicals (like DDT and Formalin by farmers) has become a matter of major public concern. Direct Fresh aims to solve this problem at scale with increased investment in farming and better distribution.
Introducing new farming model
Currently, the startup works closely with farmers, providing training and technical support to increase harvest yield and then purchase the produce at fair prices.
With the new fund injection, the startup is planning to invest more into framing. The company plans to launch a MODEL FARM using advanced agricultural techniques, technology, and practices. The company plans to introduce Azolla instead of grass in its Rajendrapur Farm which grows six times faster and can be fed to cows, goats and chickens instead of grass decreasing feed cost by 85%. The Rajendrapur farm will be one of the first farms to introduce Multi-Layer farming on a commercial scale allowing 300% more to be produced from the same square meter of land.
New online store
The startup also plans to launch a second online store, www.epbazaar.com, in the coming months, which will deliver the best retail value for good quality vegetables, fruits, fish, chicken, beef and other essential grocery items to the general public delivered to their doorstep. The new store will primarily cover Dhaka city and will expand gradually.
New board members
The company also announced a couple new additions to its board including Sameer Ahmad, Chairman of RSA Capital, Mahmood Sattar, Chairman, RSA Advisory Limited, Zarif Munir, Partner at the Boston Consulting Group and Ousamah Gillah, Managing Partner of Razor Capital.